Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., told Newsmax Monday that both the House and the Senate need to “quit with the spending” in order to balance the budget and avert a looming government shutdown.
“It's time for the folks in the Senate to quit with the spending, the folks in the House to quit with the spending, and let's get to the table,” Burchett said during an appearance on Newsmax’s “Wake Up America.” “If you just go back to pre-COVID spending levels, we can balance our budget. Right now we've got a budget committee that's come up with what I think is a very good budget … and nobody is even talking about it. I think that's a shame.”
Burchett said he thinks there’s a chance that House Republicans could come together and make a deal before time runs out on Saturday, but also that government spending levels need to be seriously looked at and addressed.
“You’ve got to realize that we’re $33 trillion in debt,” he said. “My position has been the same all along. We're taking in $5 trillion this year; we're going to spend $7 trillion, by conservative estimates. That is no way, shape or form or fashion balancing a budget.
"That's not what I ran for, and that's just not going to work. We're going to collapse this government. We're going to collapse this economy, and we need to address it.”
Even as House Republicans scramble to hammer out a deal before the Sept. 30 deadline, Burchett said he thinks the federal government will ultimately shut down.
“I think it will,” he said. “That's just my feeling. We're going back on Tuesday. We had the whole month of August; out of tradition we always take August off and work in the districts. I just feel like we’ll probably end up with a short shutdown, unfortunately, which I don't like at all.”
The Tennessee congressman said last week that he would consider pushing to oust House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., if he makes a deal with the Democrats to keep the government open. When asked who he would like to see replace the current speaker, Burchett said, “I don't have a replacement, and I don’t even want to look at that right now.”
“I'd like to go ahead with [Rep.] Jodey Arrington's budget,” he said. “I would like to balance this budget and do what we're supposed to do. The infighting doesn't help.
"I talked to Kevin McCarthy yesterday and it’s a problem. I want him to stand up and take charge, that’s what I want him to do. That's what leaders do, and he's done it in the past. I think he's capable of doing it in the future.”
Starting meetings at 10:30 a.m. and breaking for an hour for lunch is not the way to avert the budget crisis, Burchett said.
“We walk out of these meetings and everybody's got their coats over their shoulders, their Brooks Brothers jackets and their sleeves rolled up [like] hey we've been working hard,” he said. “Well, guess what? The people in East Tennessee have been busting their ass for hours. They've been up before the sun comes up.
"You got single moms out here working two shifts, two jobs, to make ends meet and we’re just spending. We're just taking care of our buddies and that's what we do.”
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Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.
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